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30 hours of Practical Work for the NEW IBDP ESS Course

It's time for a new syllabus for ESS and if you're an international school teacher like me you are also most likely in the middle of doing the international order for next school year. This process usually involves topping up consumables and kits that need refills and looking for some new tools and resources for teaching concepts that students have found complex... but when there's a new syllabus this process is much more involved.

The first thing I had to do was go through the new syllabus, page by page looking for required skills and labs or activities I can do to help teach the required concepts of the new syllabus. This took me several days. Since there will be an HL version of the course and both SL and HL require 30 hours of practical work I tracked activities and hours for each level separately. As I went through the new subject guide I made note of which materials were required for the activity, lab or simulation and which materials we need to order...either because we have run out of some of the materials or because it is a completely new practical. You can see images from some of the labs and activities I will be using in ESS below.

One of the beauties and complexities of ESS is that it is not simply a laboratory science, neither is it simply a social is both. For this reason students will need to do a wide variety of practical activities throughout the two years of IBDP ESS. Some will be more laboratory based such as the primary productivity lab using seeds and vermiculite seen above (now an HL lab) while others are simulations such as the Fishing for the Future simulation using M&Ms, some are collaborative poster making application activities and others are field trips. You will find all kinds of practicals in the list below, feel free to make a copy of the Google Document here for your own reference.

Depending on where your school is located in the world you may not have to order your materials months in advance, and luckily many of the ESS practicals I run require items which are easily obtainable anywhere in the world. For example all you need is bread, eye droppers, plates and food colouring for my Ground Pollution lab and for the Fishing for the Future activity you need M&Ms, straws, spoons, plates and cups. All easily purchased almost anywhere.

This list is meant to be used to help you plan your new course, and potentially your materials order. Please feel free to make a copy of it and edit it to suit your own needs. If you have any ideas to share for other activities please post a comment so we can all benefit. I hope you found this post helpful and good luck planning the new course! I am sure that I will continue to write blog posts and make resources for the new IBDP ESS course, you can find all my existing resources in my TPT shop.

Thanks for reading teachers, travelers and curious souls of all kinds.

The Roaming Scientist



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm the kind of teacher who is always trying something new, new labs, new Apps, new scaffolds and even new countries to live and teach in. I'm looking forward to share what I learn with you all through my weekly blog posts. 

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